It may seem time-consuming, but the return on investment is worth it, especially if you put a little strategy into your efforts.
We’ve rounded up the best-practice advice for using social media in 2020. Focusing on Facebook and Instagram for beginners (as the first and second most popular social media networks according to YouGov). Plus, we’ve listed some effective, free tools, to help you use the networks more easily.
Last week we mentioned the importance of social-first marketing, so this week we decided to take that a step further and show you how to put social media first in your marketing strategy.
This article is part of our Content Hub on how businesses can proceed with marketing during this Coronavirus period. Bliss is pooling our 10 years of industry experience to create these free and informative guides to help you, with weekly updates.
Tactics for every social media platform
No matter where you’re active on the web, these are overall best practice tips for the current social media climate.
Appearing genuine is paramount
The most important thing to remember across all social media platforms is that you need to be genuine.
Increasingly, consumers aren’t responding well to traditional ‘in your face’ advertising. Especially on social media channels where they’re looking for personal interactions, rather than companies shamelessly promoting themselves. Whereas the old saying “people buy from people” is still ringing true.
So aim to be authentic, sincere and maybe even a little more fun than you may expect from a business, and people will respond positively back.
Always engage with your audience
Positive or negative, comments or private messages, if people are reaching out to you then make sure their communications aren’t ignored, because that will almost certainly leave a bad impression.
Try to engage with every positive comment in a similar tone to the commenter, tagging them in your response so they can see you have replied.
As for any negative feedback you receive, our head of Marketing gave his in-depth advice on how to deal with this in Bliss’s first-ever podcast. Listen here, or read the transcript.
Instagram is the 2nd most popular social network and a great way to promote content to an entirely new audience. Remember that it is a visual platform, used primarily on mobile. So your number one concern should always be making sure your content looks good, even at a smaller size!
What’s great about Instagram is that it’s easy to build a following even if your actual customer base isn’t the largest, thanks to the popularity of hashtags. Whereas on Facebook, people are less likely to stumble across your content if they don’t already know you exist and haven’t searched for you.
Visual-based not photo-based
Instagram posts don’t have to be pictures. You can find infographics, mock-ups, illustrations and text-based posts on Instagram too.
If you have a bank of beautiful photography then it makes sense to use this as your main source of content. But for the businesses who don’t necessarily have a photogenic product, or a spectacular view, consider what type of content you have enough of to keep up a strong social media presence.
TOP TIP: Whilst you should always favour quality over quantity on social media, it is also important to post regularly enough that it’s clear your account is active and that people will get a response if they message.
For example at Bliss, we switched up our Instagram strategy at the beginning of lockdown as we knew working from home wouldn’t necessarily yield the best photography.
Bliss's Instagram Feed
Instead, we began to condense our hub articles into snappy carousels but still with a focus on eye-catching images and bold text. These have seen more engagement than our previous posts, and are easier to put together as they’re just reusing content we’ve already created! Check it out:
A post shared by Bliss (@blissmcr) on Jun 3, 2020 at 4:12am PDT
Pick your hashtags wisely
Each Instagram post gets to use up to thirty hashtags. If you want to grow your Instagram reach, it’s worth spending a little time doing hashtag research to find what is popular with your industry, but also isn’t too broad that your post will instantly be buried by a bunch of other #love (the most popular hashtag on Instagram!).
You want to find an array of hashtags with different popularity (from niche ones in the hundreds or early thousands to uber-popular 1mil+ hashtags), which span different aspects of your post.
❌ Don’t try and use hashtags just because they’re trending or popular. If they don’t relate to your photo, then people searching by hashtag will just ignore them.
❌ Be aware of banned hashtags! Using them could severely impact your posts and even account. FULL LIST HERE.
Instagram tools 🛠️ to help:
- Post at the optimal time using Instagram’s insights. Once you set your Instagram account to become a business account, you can get insights into your audience’s age range, gender split and very practical graphs of when your most followers are online.
- Discover a bank of hashtags, based on 1 popular one at best-hashtags
- Instagram line breaks sometimes don’t translate well from desktop to phone, but you can always get the paragraphs you need with CaptionMaker
- Add multiple links from your profile with Linktree (just remember that the more times a user has to click to get to your content, the higher drop off rate you’ll see)
Facebook is the most popular social media platform going, and therefore the most important one for any business. The statistics are mind-boggling, by next year it is expected that there will be 41.37million active Facebook users in the UK (SOURCE).
Facebook knows that to retain its crown, its users don’t want newsfeeds filled with business accounts and advertisements. Which is why business posts can see low engagement, even if the account has thousands of followers. As default, Facebook doesn’t show your posts to every one of your followers.
However, there are 2* ways around this:
- You can pay Facebook to boost a post to your audience
- Or you can do it the free way - with “meaningful” content
Meaningful content means posts which really resonate with your audience and keep them engaged and active on the network (with lots of likes, shares and comments). Keep posting this and Facebook will continually prioritise your business page on your followers’ newsfeeds. (Read more about meaningful content in Facebook’s own words HERE)
*There is a third way, though temporary: if you post a Covid-19 update it will automatically be shown to your entire network. This is very useful for this period, but you should not misuse this feature.
Wondering how to produce meaningful content? We’ve listed some ideas below:
Videos and pictures > Status updates
Not only do videos and pictures stand out on a newsfeed, Facebook actively promotes visual content over text-only status updates. So always endeavour to accompany your messages with a picture, or even better - a video.
TOP TIP: Facebook recommends making sure your videos are at least 3 minutes long for best engagement (and to keep people on the network for longer!)
Refresh your page
One piece of general best practice is to keep your page up-to-date with the occasional refresh of cover photo and page description. It’s a good way of making a positive first impression to anyone who searches for or stumbles across your page.
Ask a question
What can seem more genuine or meaningful than actually asking your audience about their opinions? Pose a question to the people who like your page to start a conversation in the comments. If you already have a popular page, you could tag your question onto the end of the post. Or, consider dedicating the whole post to the question, maybe even with a picture to really boost its chances of being seen.
Keep people on Facebook
Another way to keep your posts on people’s timelines is to not have any links on it. Facebook wants people to stay within the social network ecosystem and doesn’t want people clicking off to another website. If you have a post with a link in it which requires your full audience’s attention, consider paying to ‘boost it’ to ensure it gets seen.
Useful Facebook tools 🛠️ :
- Learn more about all aspects of Facebook with their free courses Facebook for Business
- Examine how effective your previous Facebook adverts have been with Free Facebook Ads Grader
- Compare your page to 50k others on Engagement, Fans Reached and other metrics with the Facebook Barometer
- If you want to advertise on Facebook, your post can only be 20% text. This tool checks that percentage for you, rather than trying to guess yourself: Text Overlay Tool
Consider other platforms too
Though Facebook and Instagram are at 1st and 2nd in terms of popularity, there are plenty of other social media platforms you should consider being active on, depending on your demographics, brand and how much time you want to invest.
TOP TIP: Find out where your audience is active on the web and make sure you’re posting there too!
A fast-moving and informative platform. With posts having a 280-character limit, your writing needs to be pithy and have personality to stand out. Skews to a more male demographic.
A platform based on image-boards of pictures and gifs. Full of inspirational content, from recipes to try to home ideas and tips, it is famously addictive once you get going. Skews to a female demographic.
TikTok is made up of 15-second, fun videos. Unlike other decades-old platforms, TikTok is new on the scene (2017) but rapidly growing in popularity. Skews to a Gen Z demographic.
The internet standard for uploading videos, whether YouTube strictly counts as a social media platform is up for debate, but you can certainly build a following there with quality videos. Popular across the board.
For those in the B2B market, as the professional social network, LinkedIn is a great place to grow business connections and audience. Be aware of who your audience is though and whether there is an active community for them on there. Although many people have LinkedIn accounts, not everyone uses them as frequently as other networks.
Just kidding, of course! Google+ shut down in April of 2019, so make sure you don’t look out of date by having any buttons linking to it on your website.
Are you feeling inspired to refresh your social media with some of our tips? We’d love to see! Connect with Bliss at the following accounts:
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Podcast on the importance of social-first marketing
Check out our full Content Hub for advice, best practice and ideas on how businesses can proceed with digital marketing during the Coronavirus period.